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Suicidal Woman Receives Apologies

August 30, 2001

SEATTLE (AP) _ Bouquets, cards, e-mails and calls poured into a hospital as Seattle residents tried to make amends to a suicidal woman who leaped off a bridge as motorists cursed her and yelled at her to jump.

The 26-year-old was listed in serious condition with a spinal fracture and chest and abdominal injuries but was expected to recover fully.

``In a small way, they’re trying to say that Seattle would like to define itself in a more positive way,″ said Patrick Tefft, a Harborview Medical Center employee in the volunteer office.

The woman, whose name has not been released, jumped Tuesday from a 160-foot-high bridge into a canal. Some people, stalled in traffic on an Interstate 5 bridge, screamed at her during the three-hour standoff.

``I couldn’t sleep last night thinking about her,″ said Debbie Guerrero, a social worker who brought the woman a letter. ``I want her to know how much she matters and how much she is loved.″

More than 100 people called the hospital to wish her well, spokeswoman Marsha Rule said.

A few motorists were still angry on Wednesday, sending e-mails and calling the Seattle Post-Intelligencer to blame the woman for not choosing a less-traveled site to end her life.

The woman was hired as a lobbyist for the Washington Realtors Association this year but took a leave of absence soon after she started, according to lobbyist Ed Owens. The Seattle Times reported that she was distraught over a relationship.

There have been at least 10 suicide attempts off the Ship Canal Bridge since 1966. Three people, including the woman who jumped on Tuesday, survived.

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